Which countries have met the EU’s 5G deadline?
Nov 20, 2020 by Manuel R. Marti


Bands700 MHz (2020), 3.3 - 3.8 GHz (2020), 26 GHz (2020)
LocationEurope, Italy
Tags26 GHz, 3.3 - 3.8 GHz, 5G, 700 MHz, EU, Finland, Italy

Many think of cold, snow-covered Finland and warm, sunny Italy as very different countries. Perhaps it is not surprising that their spectrum auctions have produced very different outcomes.

Over the years, the home of Nokia has gained a reputation for carrying out affordable and exemplary spectrum assignments.

When Finnish incumbent operators paid only slightly more than the starting price of €65 million for 3.5 GHz frequencies in 2018, the country’s regulator was applauded by mobile industry association the GSMA.

Some were just as impressed when Finland managed to sell the 26 GHz band in less than 24 hours.

Italy, on the other hand, has been repeatedly slammed for auctions allegedly aimed at maximising revenues.

Its 2018 multi-band award raked in over €6.5 billion, surpassing the regulator’s pre-auction target of €2.5 billion and alarming many mobile operators in other markets.

Looking at the 3.4—3.8GHz band, proceeds have diverged substantially between the two nations. Fierce bidding in the Italian auction pushed prices up to $0.42 per MHz per head of population, while the Finns valued mid-band frequencies at about $0.04/MHz/pop.

Similarly, when Italy sold the 26 GHz band in late 2018, the mmWave frequencies cost roughly 1.6 times as much as they did in Finland.

However, Italy and Finland do have some things in common.

They are the only ones so far who have assigned all Europe’s 5G pioneer bands—700 MHz, 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz. 

And as we approach the last month of the year, it is clear that they will be the only EU member states to meet the European Commission’s 2020 spectrum deadlines

Brussels is sure to appreciate this similarity.